Atlanta Auto Accident Lawyers Answer Common Questions about Uninsured Motorist Coverage
While facts establishing negligent conduct by the other driver probably constitute the most important information in evaluating a motor vehicle accident claim, the insurance coverage available from the at-fault driver and other parties is a close second. Frequently, judgments and settlements will be paid by insurance companies on behalf of their insured. However, the situation gets complicated when there is no available insurance or the amount of coverage carried by negligent parties is insufficient to cover the full measure of a traffic accident victim's damages. While there might be other viable defendants like vehicle manufacturers, auto repair shops, or vehicle owners, injury victims often need to turn to their own uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage.
In this blog post, our Atlanta auto accident lawyers answer some common questions about UM/UIM insurance in Georgia.
What parties are covered by UM/UIM coverage in Georgia?
While the named insured obviously is covered, other relatives who reside with the named insured also generally will be covered. This aspect of coverage is important because it often means that you have more insurance than you might initially think. If the other driver has the minimum amount of coverage in Georgia of only $30,000, the fact that your spouse has $30,000 in uninsured /underinsured motorist coverage means you have double the available insurance coverage to pay for your damages.
What financial losses will UM/UIM coverage pay if I am injured in an accident with a hit-and-run motorist or an uninsured or underinsured driver?
It is not required under the law for drivers to carry UM/UIM coverage. However, the minimum amount of UM/UIM coverage that must be offered to policyholders in Georgia is $25,000 in bodily injury for a single person and $50,000 for all bodily injury victims in a single accident. Motorists can and might well consider purchasing more UM coverage. The types of expenses covered by UM/UIM insurance in Georgia fall into two broad categories – property damage and bodily injury. Property damage UM coverage will provide funds to repair or replace your vehicle and the personal property inside the vehicle. The bodily damage coverage extends to medical expenses, pain and suffering and lost wages.
What if I was a pedestrian or passenger in a vehicle?
UM/UIM insurance provides coverage beyond incidents involving your own vehicle. If you are a pedestrian who is run down by an uninsured driver, you can pursue compensation for lost wages and medical bills through your own UM coverage when you are injured by a motorist with no insurance or inadequate coverage. If you are the passenger in a vehicle hit by an intoxicated or otherwise negligent uninsured driver, you can seek compensation from the UM coverage of the individual driving the car in which you are riding as well as your own UM/UIM if you have it.
Do I need UM coverage if I have health insurance to cover my medical bills?
Although health insurance might be available to cover your hospital bills and other medical expenses, you will still have deductibles and co-payments. These costs can easily be thousands of dollars or more depending on the circumstances as well as your health insurance plan. Further, health insurance will not provide compensation for pain and suffering or damage to your vehicle.
What benefit is there to retaining a Georgia car accident lawyer if the at-fault driver's insurance has lapsed?
While no two cases are identical, there are a number of strategies our lawyers might pursue when handling a case where the negligent motorist lacks insurance. The first step is to contact the motorist's most recent insurer and request an affidavit of coverage. This will force the insurance company to disclose any coverage that they provide to the insured. We can request the insured indicate any other applicable insurance that might have been effective at the time of the crash. If we do not receive a response from the negligent driver, we might retain an investigator to determine if there is any available insurance or assets against which a judgment or settlement can be enforced. Finally, we often assist policyholders in seeking UM/UIM benefits from their own insurance.
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If you have been injured by a driver who fled the scene or a motorist with no insurance, Montlick and Associates has built its reputation on striving to attain recognition as the premier personal injury law firm in the Atlanta. Montlick and Associates has been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout all of Georgia and in the Southeast for over thirty years, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.